Advance the state of the art and embark on a self-directed career. The Ph.D. in IE program prepares students for careers in consulting, industrial research, and academia. It provides an opportunity to explore challenging research problems and make a research contribution to the field of industrial engineering. Students learn how to write proposals, plan and conduct research, write research papers, and make technical presentations. The Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Engineering degree requires 48 credit hours of coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree and a 24-credit dissertation.


  1. 41 credits in 500- and 600-level courses
    1. At least 9 credits of industrial engineering coursework from ISU (see the course catalog)
    2. At least two of these courses must be at the 600 level
    3. Up to 27 credits from a master’s degree may (with approval from the Program of Study and Committee) be applied
  2. 6 credits in courses outside industrial engineering that carry graduate credit
  3. 24 dissertation/research credits
  4. Continuous registration in IE 501 (graduate seminar) throughout graduate program
  5. 1 credit of GR ST 565 Responsible Conduct of Research


The primary focus of the program is on the research process. Students must successfully complete and defend a dissertation that describes the significance, methods, and results of their research investigations. The Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering has research programs in Advanced Manufacturing, Human Factors & Ergonomics, Operations Research & Analytics, and Systems Engineering & Engineering Management.

Advanced Manufacturing

Research includes the investigation of new production methods for advanced products, studying process parameters of new processes, and understanding the interaction of processes in advanced manufacturing systems. Current IMSE efforts in this area include rapid manufacturing systems, advanced metrology and inspection, control and automation systems, and industrial energy efficiency.

Human Factors & Ergonomics

The application of our understanding of the capabilities and limitations of human beings in the design of the workplace and consumer items. Current emphasis areas in IMSE include 1) physical ergonomics with a particular focus on spine biomechanics, prevention of low back injury and hand/wrist disorders such as tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome and 2) cognitive engineering with a focus on augmented human performance and human computer interaction.

Operations Research & Analytics

Focuses on quantitative models that can provide new insights into the behavior of complex systems, identify areas where significant improvements can be made in system performance, and provide a basis for effective decision making. Quantitative models
include mathematical and computer models based on principles of simulation, optimization, probability, and statistics.

Systems Engineering & Engineering Management

Focuses on the design and management of large, complex, and interdisciplinary technological systems. Engineering management is the art and science of planning, organizing, allocating resources, and directing and controlling activities that have a technological component, thereby bridging the gap between engineering and management. Research in this area is focused on decision and risk analysis, quantitative modeling (e.g., optimization, simulation), and analysis of complexity and emergent phenomena in large-scale systems. Courses are offered in decision analysis, risk analysis, requirements engineering, project management, and engineering management theory.

Applying for Admission

To be considered for admission to the Ph.D. program, applicants should have a M.S. degree in industrial engineering or a strongly aligned field. In addition, all applicants need to provide GRE scores. The TOEFL (or IELTS) test is required for students whose native language is not English. High academic achievement or other persuasive evidence of professional accomplishments is expected for admission to the program.